How many times have you thought or been told in programs or life that the only way to lose weight is to deprive yourself? Always right? General messages in society are that deprivation leads to weight loss. Then what happens is that after you just can’t take the deprivation any longer and your “diet” is over – you start eating the same foods again and the weight comes back and sometimes even MORE of it, am I right?
What Dieting Does To Your Body
Frequent dieting for weight control causes slow metabolism. This is exactly the opposite of what you want when you are trying to lose weight.
The body recognizes this as “starvation mode.” One organ most affected by this is the thyroid. The thyroid is like the accelerator in your car. It helps accelerate metabolism. Dieting causes low-functioning thyroid and sluggish metabolism geared for weight gain rather than loss.
Frequent dieting also puts your body into a “yo-yo” syndrome. The cycle of loss and gain. This makes it harder to lose weight. Your metabolism slows, you go into conservation, and the body gets used to operating in slow metabolism.
Deprivation is NOT the way to control weight, lose weight or otherwise
“Dieting” often means people are choosing “diet” related, processed, non whole foods. They have chosen low to non fat products, and other diet related items they think are low calorie. But often with this comes no nutritional value making you EVEN HUNGRIER than you were before!
Measuring portions is only necessary when you are eating packaged and processed foods. And if you are “dieting” and trying to restrict you aren’t getting many nutrients at all because you have cut out packaged foods because you cannot eat them, and then you just know there “isn’t anything to eat.” When in actuality there are LOADS OF LOW CALORIE NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS!
What do we do about this?
Step 1- Ditch Packaged, Processed Foods
By moving away from packaged and processed foods you can break this cycle of deprivation and start providing WHOLE NUTRIENTS to your body. Once your body receives these it will burn the proper nutrient as needed and you will naturally lose weight. You will also provide all of your body symptoms with nutrients they need, and you will see annoying health symptoms slowly disappear.
Step 2- Balance Our Macronutrients to Include MORE Whole Foods
Most people dieting are using low or nonfat products. These are often laden with fillers, and they are also making up those calories in processed carbohydrates.
By eating little to no fat we are also depriving our body of necessary cell wall membranes, necessary hormone balancers, and more.
The replacement simple carbohydrates are too much for the body, they will be converted to fat and stored. Having a high carbohydrate diet with lack of healthy fats will not help you lose weight, nor maintain weight loss, or balance weight and you will certainly be hungry frequently – feel HANGRY much?
I often talk with clients about what we can add to their nutrition, as we eliminate those processed foods they ate. There are SO MANY foods when we take one thing away we add something MORE nutritious instead.
Some examples include:
Breakfast cereals and bars – eggs with vegetables cooked in butter.
Toast – nuts, or fresh fruit, or a grain free bread if you cannot let go of the notion of toast.
Snack packs, chips, pretzels galore – vegetables with homemade sauce, dressing or dip, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds, raw whole milk yogurt
White pasta, white rice – more vegetables, organic wild rice, organic brown rice.
Lunch meat/deli meat – whole chicken distributed over a week made in a slow cooker at home properly sourced from a local farm, pasture raised. Or organic pasture raised. Or you can choose any meat like a salmon, or cod and cook filets for the week and add to your lunches vs. nitrate and highly processed meats from the deli or a plastic pack in the freezer.
Step 3 – Balance Our Nutrient Ratio
We want to be sure that at every meal we are having primarily vegetables, a healthy fat source, protein and lastly at a point during the day a whole grain if tolerable. Most people honestly just need to eat more vegetables with every single meal, as long as the rest of the meal is properly sourced and whole foods. You will feel full and satiated this way.
Think 40-30-30. Forty percent carbohydrates (think vegetables, fruits, potatoes, with a small amount of whole grains), 30 percent as healthy fats from olive oil, butter, coconut oil, fresh fish, properly raised animals, 30 percent from protein from things like nuts, seeds, properly raised animals and seafood and fish. Notice nothing listed here (except maybe the way the nuts come) are in a package.
What happens if you are doing the whole foods thing, and you are really truly diligent and your weight changes one way or the other? This might be time to adjust your nutrient ratios again. With the guidance of an NTP you can make that happen, or you can experience on your own until you achieve the result you want. But remember, depriving yourself of food will lead to nutrient deficiencies and body malfunction which leads to health symptoms and disease.
Step 4 – When purchasing something in a package read the ingredients
Start eliminating products that are loads of ingredients, and not a whole food source alone. You want pistachios that are just pistachios. No added oils, no added salts or coatings. You want to make your own dressings if possible from organic oils and vinegars. You want to choose products that have only healthy oils (EVOO, butter, avocado, coconut) and organic whole food items.
Packaged items (even whole food source) should be a very minimal use and not something that is part of your daily routine. You want to make as much as you can of your own foods daily. The ingredients should be singles that are from an organic whole food source. If you read the label and you have no idea what the words are – put it back on the shelf and move on.
Step 5 – Look at your habits
You need to look at your meal prep procedures. If you don’t have any it’s time to get them so you can ensure the use of whole foods. (This is something I help with in nutritional therapy). Taking 30 minutes to a few hours to prepare for a week will help you make whole foods convenient in a busy schedule.
We need to look at our activity levels, movement every day is essential to proper body function. This concept is not how many calories can I burn off today – but rather what is better for my body function and feeling.
It may take some work to find your great ratio (or a practitioner like myself to help you) because this concept isn’t what we have been taught. Exercise should nourish your mind and body, and make your muscles and bones strong. Not be the reason you can go out and eat a bunch of pasta or dessert or drink.
By working your body in exercise and movement daily you will also change the body composition you have and although a huge weight LOSS might not (will not) be in order from exercise alone, you will most certainly experience a body shape change which will likely include fitting into those skinny jeans again.
A great example of this is myself. I was not super healthy while pregnant (in terms of my eating and activity.) I gained a very unhealthy 65 pounds. I was underweight when I got pregnant, but this is still far far outside of a healthy range. After having my son I had only lost 30 pounds of that. It was an enormous difference and because my nutrition wasn’t awesome, and I was inactive I didn’t look awesome. I looked like you would imagine from that type of weight gain. Guess what? TODAY right now – with amazing nutrition and exercise seven days a week I weigh the same as that postpartum weight. BUT GUESS WHAT ELSE? I wear my pre-pregnancy clothing. Yes. I wear the same jeans I did when I was underweight yet I weigh what I did after a few weeks postpartum. Clearly I don’t have the same body composition right? This is what fitness is about. Being in shape, feeling good, not about my food. Food is about nourishment, not about my emotions. It’s about the best thing to get my body to run right, feel good and be disease free.
The more whole foods, full of nutrients, we consume, the better our body responds and runs. If you want the accelerator at full speed, it’s essential to have whole nutrient-dense foods for each meal daily! You don’t need to be deprived to feel great and lose weight. By focusing on nutritional sound meals you will naturally control your weight and never have to worry about how much of anything you are consuming, as long as it’s whole foods.